Air France has announced the carrier is looking to expand its use of biometrics at its gateway airports in the United States. In particular, the French carrier will be running biometric boarding trials for Air France flights originating out of New York JFK Airport and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. According to the carrier, approximately 2,200 passengers travel with Air France from New York JFK Airport and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport daily.
The trials are possible thanks to collaboration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Through the trials, Air France hopes to evaluate the biometric technology's reliability, speed and user-friendliness. It is Air France's aim to implement a fuss-free, one-step biometric boarding procedure so customers can enjoy a frictionless, faster boarding experience with facial recognition technology.
Air France remains committed to enhancing the customer experience through the use of digital innovation. The carrier wants to make travel more secure and less stressful for its customers altogether. It is Air France's goal to implement biometric boarding at all its U.S. gateways by 2020.
At this time, passengers on Air France and KLM flights departing from Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas Fort-Worth, Detroit, Dulles, San Francisco, as well as Seattle can utilize biometric boarding instead of using traditional boarding passes.
The airline is not alone, though. JetBlue, Delta and American Airlines offer biometric boarding for select international flights departing from the United States. Lufthansa and British Airways offer biometric boarding for select flights departing from the United States, too.
But of course, there are skeptics and a ton of privacy concerns regarding the increasing use of facial recognition technology in the airline world. That said, it seems that more and more airlines and airports around the world want in on the biometrics game, not just those based in the United States.
Airports in Spain, China, Slovenia and Malaysia have recently started piloting biometric boarding. Changi Airport's Terminal 4 has been letting travelers enjoy an end-to-end self-service biometrics experience from check-in and bag drop to immigration and boarding since its opening in October 2017.